Local provision of care and services
Taking care of children is the first, fundamental mission of the Istituto degli Innocenti. It has adjusted its services according to changes in social needs. In the 1970s the large facility for abandoned children was remodelled into family-run homes. Here temporary accommodation is provided for children and mothers, sent by the tuscan social services or by the judiciary.
So have been opened: the “Casa Bambini”, today a regional centre which receives young children from 0 to 6 years, the “Casa Madri”, a facility for women with children or pregnant women, in difficult situations, and the “Casa delle Rondini” for mothers in the final period of a protected pathway.
The Istituto degli Innocenti, also making its own properties available for use, promotes innovative services for adolescents and families in Tuscany in cooperation with other public and private corporations.
The first experience, near Borgo San Lorenzo, in the Mugello area , is “Villaggio La Brocchi”, a leading project in Italy for the integration of foreigners. Here, in an ancient renovated village, accommodation is provided for families requesting asylum and refugees with children, with services and initiatives to promote integration involving the entire local community.
A new facility for adolescents, the “Canapè” centre, has been set up in the municipality of Campi Bisenzio, close to Florence. There, adolescents and young people find a space in which to socialise, be listened to, receive educational support and training.
Research, documentation and training
The Istituto degli Innocenti is a national and European reference point for the promotion of the rights of the young generations. It conducts analyses and research and provides information and training activities on the condition of children and families and on the relative social policies, also with projects for development and aid for children in other countries.
Many forms of cooperation and commitment link the Institute with local, national and European organisations and institutions.
For the Italian government the Institute manages the activities of the National Centre for Childhood and Adolescence Documentation and Analysis, an organism which promotes information, knowledge, innovation and support for policies for juvenile citizens.
It provides monitoring, training and information on the phenomenon of intercountry adoption on behalf of the CAI, Commission for Intercountry Adoption. It is also responsible for the secretariat of ChildOnEurope, the European network of Observatories on childhood.
For the Region of Tuscany the Institute manages the Regional Observatory for the documentation of Childhood and Adolescence and it cooperates with different local
government sectors through training and research activities in many contexts.
These activities concern in particular: knowledge about the condition of children, needs analysis and monitoring of the implementation of specific laws, and also developing the operators’ professional skills and the quality of services for children, adolescents and the family, together with the dissemination of correct information on related themes.All the documentary material may be consulted through the Innocenti Library “Alfredo Carlo Moro”, which is located in the Institute and is managed in collaboration with UNICEF Irc.
Attention to children and their needs is the basis for the educational services, provided by the Istituto degli Innocenti, with a constant search for innovation and quality.
For early childhood the Institute manages three crèches (Giocheria, Picchio e Nidino) and a Centre for Children and Parents, thanks to an agreement with the Municipality of Florence.
Each service has its own characteristics and is dedicated to a specific age group, to adequately meet the children’s and families’ needs. All the facilities have spaces and gardens with play apparatus.
The special attention to the relationship between the smaller children and the media has led to experimental media education projects intended for children, teachers and parents, created in cooperation with the local authorities and scholastic services, including the proposal for a reasoned reading of information in Children and the Press, with laboratories for first and second level high school pupils in Tuscany (www.ripplemarks.it) .
A project for computer literacy in the use of the Internet and the world of the Web 2.0 named Trool was begun in 2007. It is intended for children aged 6 – 12 years, schools and families, and involves the local authorities, associations and cultural institutions.
The Trool portal, online at the address www.trool.it is already in use in many schools in Tuscany. It is introduced through a network of training activities for children, parents and teachers, organised by skilled operators.
The artistic heritage and the Museo degli Innocenti.
The social and educational activity of the Istituto degli Innocenti, since its foundation, has always had a strong cultural significance. The activity of protecting children, the beauty of the monumental building and its importance in the history of art, together with the activity of artists, painters , sculptors, summoned in their time to embellish the “place” of welcome, have contributed to the creation of a cultural centre open to the city and to the world.
To enhance the historical and artistic heritage of the old Innocenti Hospital and to advertise this extraordinary “place for children”, MUDI , the new Innocenti Museum, has been founded.
The Museo degli Innocenti comprises:
The Galleria dello Spedale (Hospital Gallery), the Historical Archive and the educational activities of the Children’s Workshop.
The Galleria dello Spedale
Approximately fifty works, mostly paintings, completed between the 14th and the 18th century are exhibited. The works are part of the Institute’s artistic heritage built up over the centuries by direct commission or through legacies or by patronate. Of particular importance are some Renaissance masterpieces such as the Adoration of the Magi by Domenico del Ghirlandaio and the Madonna and Child by Sandro Botticelli.
The Historical Archive
It houses vast documentation collected uninterruptedly from the 14th to the 20th century, unique of its kind in terms of the chronological completeness and variety of contents. Around 15,000 documents witness the life of the old Hospital since it was built and the life of many institutions associated with it over the centuries.
From 2004 the museum has been undergoing a radical renovation process. For two years a multidisciplinary team comprising art historians and experts in the history of architecture , the history of childhood and museum educators, has prepared the museological project for the new Museo degli Innocenti.
The new museum will have to take on the Institute’s old tradition of receiving and caring, which are still fundamental characteristics of its identity.
The museum will highlight the deep relationship between works, architecture and documentary records which make the Institute’s heritage so unique and together make it possible to relate the institution’s history and tell of the people who lived in the Hospital.